Stanley Kauffmann, 1916-2013

Posted on The New Republic this morning:

We are saddened to report that Stanley Kauffmann, our film critic of more than five decades, died early this morning at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York at age 97. We will be adding to this tribute throughout the day.

The link above contains tributes by James Wolcott, David Denby, and David Thomson (with more to come).

I’ve read a fair bit of Kauffmann over the years, and whenever I pick one of his collections off the shelf I’m amazed at the elegance and directness of his prose; his judgements read so sound, even when they are miles away from my own (which I don’t think they were all that often, truthfully, though given my slavish devotion to early seventies movies above all else, our overall sensibilities are probably a bit out of sorts). I’ve always thought of Kauffmann as an interesting figure, as well, in that he was instrumental to the rise of American movie criticism in the ’60s, yet he is barely, if at all, associated with any of the internecine battles which took place at the time, or for years afterwards (I don’t recall him ever even responding to the Kael-Sarris auteur wars, for instance). If this helped ensure he would not have the instant name recognition of a few others from the period, it din’t in any way deter him from continuing to do great work, for years, “unclouded,” as Wolcott put it.


One thought on “Stanley Kauffmann, 1916-2013

  1. Just learned of this late in the afternoon. He did respond to auteurism, if not Sarris directly (can’t remember). Not a believer, not surprisingly—I seem to recall he softened later on, in an interview maybe, and may have even given Sarris some credit for alerting him to certain directors. Or maybe I’m thinking of someone else entirely—that happens a lot these days. I didn’t get much out of his recent reviews, I’m sorry to say. From the late ’50s to the early ’90s, I think he was as good as anybody, Kael included.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.